Common Misconceptions About DUIs
DUIs and DWIs are some of the most commonly committed crimes in the United States. Many people spread misconceptions about DUIs, and other people accept those misconceptions as facts. Unfortunately, only a tiny percentage of people actually take their time to research the law instead of relying on the first source of information they find online.
The consequences of believing in myths about DUIs and DWIs can be devastating. That is why the criminal defense attorney at The Linder Firm is dedicated to educating his clients on the facts. Attorney Phillip Linder has offices in Frisco and Dallas, Texas, but represents people facing DUIs/DWIs and a variety of other charges in other parts of Dallas Metro and North Texas.
DUI and DWI Charges in Texas
Unlike other states, Texas treats DUI and DWI charges differently, even though many people use these terms interchangeably. DWI means driving while intoxicated and refers to a criminal charge when a person operates a motor vehicle while lacking the normal use of mental/physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.
Under Texas law, you can also face DWI charges for having an alcohol blood concentration of .08% or higher (the BAC limit). For drivers aged 21 and older, DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor unless their BAC is .15% or higher. In the latter case, the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor.
A DUI (driving under the influence) pertains only to drivers under the age of 21. In Texas, DUI charges apply when such drivers have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. DUI is typically a Class C misdemeanor.
Common Myths and Facts About DUI Charges
If you are facing DUI charges and are doing your research, you may encounter a number of misconceptions online. Below are some of the most common myths about DUIs in Texas as well as the facts behind those myths.
“There is no point in fighting DUI charges”
Unfortunately, many people charged with DUI or DWI think there is no point in fighting the charges. However, it is simply not true. A lot is at stake when you have been charged with DUI/DWI in Texas. That is why you might want to consider speaking with a defense attorney who will guide you through the process and explain your defense options.
At The Linder Firm, Attorney Phillip Linder offers a free consultation, which means you have absolutely nothing to lose if you are concerned about the fees.
“A DUI charge isn’t that serious”
Actually, DUIs and DWIs are serious and can lead to severe consequences. Regardless of whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, you will most likely be ordered to pay a fine and will lose your driver’s license for a certain period when convicted. In some cases, people convicted of DWI can also be sent to jail. DUIs/DWIs also look bad on background checks, which can affect your chances of finding a job and housing in the future.
“You have to be driving to be arrested for a DUI”
False. Under Texas law, you do not necessarily have to be seen driving to be arrested for DWI/DUI. This concept is known as “actual physical control.” There are several key elements that can establish actual physical control in DWI/DUI cases:
The defendant had the key in his/her possession or in the ignition;
The defendant was in or around the vehicle (e.g., sitting in the driver’s seat);
The defendant was physically capable of causing the vehicle to move; and
The vehicle has recently been operated (and is operable).
When these elements exist, you can be arrested for DWI/DUI even if the police did not see you driving.
“When arrested for DUI, I can refuse to submit to urine/blood testing”
While you cannot be forced to undertake a chemical test, refusing to submit to urine/blood testing can lead to additional penalties. Most states, including Texas, have adopted implied consent laws. Under these laws, any driver who operates a vehicle on public roads is presumed to have automatically consented to chemical testing upon their arrest for DUI/DWI.
“When stopped, I must answer all the officer’s questions”
False. When stopped by the police, you can exercise your right to remain silent and refuse to answer the officer’s questions. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you from being forced to provide incriminating information about yourself.
“A DUI will fall off my record in seven years”
Not true. It is a common misconception that a DUI/DWI conviction will fall off or otherwise disappear from your criminal record after seven years. DUI/DWI convictions are permanent unless expunged. However, not all convictions are eligible in Texas. You might want to speak with an attorney to discuss whether your conviction can be expunged.
Don’t Deal With a DUI Alone
Facing DUI/DWI charges is a serious matter, and fighting these charges requires a plan. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions that can make it more challenging to cultivate a strong and effective defense strategy. However, with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney at The Linder Firm, you stand a better chance of a favorable outcome in court. Reach out to Attorney Phillip Linder today for a free case review.